Oct 31, 2001
Former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jim Seif, speaking on behalf of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), said that Pennsylvania needs streamlined regulations and government leadership to promote renewable energy.
Seif, now the vice president-Corporate Services for PPL, joined a panel of speakers representing public and private institutions to discuss the future of renewable energy with members of the Pennsylvania House Consumer Affairs Committee.
In his prepared testimony, Seif said his background with the regulatory agency and now as an executive with a major national energy provider gave him a unique perspective on renewable energy.
"We believe that the future of energy policy will include a mixed portfolio of sources and techniques for the generation of electricity. At this point, renewable energy comprises a small portion of our nation's energy production, but its future is bright," Seif said. "At PPL we are exploring cutting-edge technologies that provide reliable and cost-effective renewable power."
Seif encouraged the state government to join PPL in helping to make renewable energy viable for customers in Pennsylvania. Seif said the state could lead by setting a good example for its citizens.
"Pennsylvania's citizens take their cue from their leaders. Government has a unique opportunity as well as responsibility to help develop the renewable energy industry into a serious power source for this century," he said.
Seif listed several renewable energy projects that PPL and the Sustainable Energy Fund in PPL's service territory are working together to complete. The Sustainable Energy Fund that PPL helped create as a part of deregulation is supplying financing for a nine-megawatt wind plant in Somerset, Pa. -- the largest wind farm east of the Mississippi.
Last week, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Dave Hess and Public Utility Commission Chairman Glen Thomas flipped the switch on these environmentally friendly turbines.
Seif attributed part of the current growth in the renewable energy market to the success of deregulation in Pennsylvania. "Today, everyone can choose his or her energy provider," he said. "These customers choose their power company based on price, familiarity and, in some cases, how power is generated."
Seif said another sign that deregulation is working is that economic investments, including new facilities for renewable and non-renewable energy, are in the works.
In addition to traditional sources of renewable energy, Seif also spoke about what he called "opportunity fuels." These include energy sources like fuel cells. PPL recently signed a contract to install a 250-kilowatt fuel cell system at a Coast Guard base on Cape Cod, Mass. He said, "Although fuel cells are not renewable in the traditional sense, they are an efficient source of clean energy."
The committee plans to hold a second hearing on the subject in the near future to discuss more technical details about renewable energy generation.
PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., generates electricity at power plants in Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana; markets wholesale or retail energy in 42 U.S. states and Canada; and delivers electricity to nearly 6 million customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.